....or "how I found my next Ferrari" Well, I got the priveledge (and believe me it was a priveledge!) not only to detail Byron's car, but to get behind the wheel briefly. For those that don't want to wade through this post, here's the conclusion: An underpriced, and under appreciated car! Exterior Like some Ferrari's, when this car was introduced (late '92), I was underwhelmed. I found it bland and low key, thinking of it as a souped up Japanese luxury car. But as time goes by, around '97, after seeing a barchetta red/tan car in person, it really began to grow on me. By 1998, when the "M" version was introduced, I fell in love. Not with the 456M, but the GT. The "M" really hammered home the Japanese luxury car look (IMHO). The 456 in my view took on a very subtle, yet aggressive form, very "Jekyll and Hyde" (you'll hear this again later) appearance. It could be subtle, but could be aggressive too. What disappointed me about the "M" model was the lack of hood vents. That made the car aggressive. And seeing the car in person, you really can see many lines in the car, much more than photographs have portrayed. Interior In a nutshell - comfortable, inviting, very much like a cockpit rather than the "luxury sedan" image the exterior portrays on first view. There is also a ton of leather in that car, far more than my Mondial's have ever had. It was definitely a lot of work to clean! What was surprising was how much passenger room there was. Granted I'm 6' 5", no one is sitting behind me. But Byron jumped in the backseat (and probably the only time he'll ever be back there ) and my neighbor Ray jumped in the passenger seat, and everyone was comfortable. Byron commented a few times through our spirited journey how comfortable he was. Now, more room than my Mondial, but not a whole lot more. The driver and front passenger areas definitely have more room to 'stretch out' unlike my Mondial. The center console also allows a little bit of 'lazy shifting' (a glorified arm rest) but not much. Good thing, you don't want to be lazy in this car. The Drive Turn the key and "vrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooooooooooooom" that engine comes to life, and is helped by the Tubi, giving it that roar upon firing up, settling into a nice but noticeable purr. We (all three of us) headed out to La Paz, then the 5 freeway, coming back on Cabot road. Nice little trip. This car shifts smoothly and solidly, very similar (but smoother) than my Mondial. We headed down La Paz towards the 5 freeway, and I punched it while in first gear. Not very impressive for a 12 cylinder. Yes, that's not a typo, not impressive at all upon slamming the accelerator down to the floor (and likely wasting 50 gallons of fuel in the process). The car moved, but not in a way that made me go "oooohhh". My Mondial is more peppy than this car, and by a sizeable margin if you ask me... ....but those impressions are just to 4000 RPM ...at 4000 RPM (and climbing as fast as possible), this car went from subtle ho-hum Jekyll to "get the **** out of my way" Hyde. You'd think this car had turbos on it. At 4000 RPM, the car slams you back into the seat, lurches forward as if afterburners had just kicked in rocketing down the road trying to get airborne. I think in a former life, the metal in this car came from a jet. We got to the 5 on ramp, and just to test it again, same thing. Pedal to the floor, slow but progressing speed until 4000 RPM and BAM! This car takes off like a bat out of hell (8000 RPM and the power band drops fast). Those who water ski, it's like when the boat begins to pull you, once you are standing up, the boat really begins accelerating and you can feel the boat pulling you hard - that's what this car feels like. The steering wheel feels like the reins holding onto 468 horses desperately trying to get away from you. At speed on the freeway, it was fun to see people look over, then punch it and within 1 second, they're now 10 cars behind. This car is trouble with a capital T. Why? The lack of ooomph at less than 4000 RPM makes this car very civilized for city driving, but at greater than 4000 RPM, the immense feeling of speed and craziness that follows makes the driver (at least me) NOT want to take his foot off the accelerator. That's trouble. Why? Because all that fun comes at a price - possible law enforcement intervention. You quickly realize at 7500 RPM in second gear is pushing north of 80 MPH, and you haven't even hit 3rd gear yet. I've got $20 that says Byron gets a ticket in the next 6 months. I know I'd be busted in the first week. This car is better than a Disneyland "E" ticket ride, by a longshot. Conclusion A friggin' undervalued, under appreciated car. So much power, so much performance, so much comfort, at so little money! Yes you to can have a stable of wild horses that brings a **** silly grin every time you plow north of 4000 RPM for a little more than a Mondial. So, is my Mondial history? Not by a long shot. My car has one thing the 456 will never have in factory form - a convertible top. I love my car, but my next Ferrari will be a 456, and the 456 will be the bigger brother to my Mondial, living side by side in my garage one day. Maybe sooner than later after yesterday. What a great car, and I thank Byron for giving me the opportunity to see why he'll always have a **** silly grin every time I see him! Good call Byron!